KIEV, Ukraine, Oct. 19 (UPI) -- Ukraine needs to overhaul its natural gas infrastructure and pricing systems in order to modernize its energy sector, the IEA executive director said from Kiev.
"Ukraine has already taken important steps towards energy sector reforms, but achieving the full potential for an energy revolution will require a greater policy focus on developing energy efficiency in the building and industry sectors and modernizing district heating systems," said Maria van der Hoeven, the executive director of the International Energy Agency, in a statement from Kiev.
The IEA's review of the Ukrainian energy sector said the country could move closer to energy independence by exploiting resources like shale natural gas, biomass and other alternative strategies.
Increased oil and natural gas production, coupled with upgrades to its Soviet-era gas transit system, could eventually pay off for downstream consumers in Central Europe, the report added.
"The country must make deep regulatory reforms to foster effective competition, alongside a progressive move towards market prices to attract investment to develop the sector," added van der Hoeven.
European consumers get about 20 percent of their natural gas from Russia. About 80 percent of that runs through Ukraine's gas transit system.